Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

By: David Epstein

I owe a big thank you to author David Epstein for writing this book specifically with me in mind. When he set out to write this, did he know how much I’d appreciate his effort to validate my current strategy of dabbling on the verge of dilettantism?

In any case, the moral of the story is that breakthrough successes (both people and ideas) tend to come at the intersections of specialized fields rather than from narrow specialization. Generalists > specialists and the 10,000 hour rule is relegated to the trash bin.

He provides case study examples from athletics, music, lab research, and more. If you appreciate a good story and loads of qualitative evidence, this book will deliver for you.

What’s missing is, of course, the quantitative evidence that would more readily prove his point. But as humans who love a good narrative, can we all just agree to ignore that?

Now, in the spirit of variety and aversion to specialization, I’ll make sure to choose a next book that’s as far away from this on the range spectrum as I can find.

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